Having worked in the NHS for over thirty years I often heard these words from patients/clients whose expectations were on having someone else cure or heal them.  They came with a sense of hope that in the helplessness that they felt something was going to get them better.  So is this curing or healing?

What is the difference between these two powerful words which are used interchangeably?  It is really only during the past 8 years or so that I have tried to understand what the difference is within my own holistic therapy practice.

To cure according to the Cambridge English dictionary is to make someone healthy again or to cause an illness to go away.  It is a verb but also a noun – a specific treatment or medicine.  There is a sense of having an end result that has eliminated the original condition or illness.

“To cure” can come with scepticism as claims have falsely been used to promote an intervention that seems too good to be true.

Miracles could be seen as cures – sometimes treated with disbelief and disdain but at times with wonder and awe.  Miracles can be seen as an event or intervention that cannot be explained scientifically or within the natural laws of understanding and yet they have been part of mankind’s culture for millennia.

As we have moved more into scientific evidence over the centuries and the need to explain everything, have we lost our ability to wonder and accept that some things cannot be explained?

Light bulbs

So what does healing mean?  Healing is more of a process of moving into better health.  To me healing doesn’t have a specific end result but is an ongoing development.

Healing is a more expansive way of achieving health – encompassing healing of the body with healing of the mind and spirit.  As we know all these areas resonate and integrate with each other therefore the healing process needs to take account of all these needs.

In Reiki there is a saying that it kicks starts the body’s own natural ability to heal itself.  By receiving Reiki energy, or any other kind of energy healing modality such as shamanic work, it provides the body, mind or spirit time to clear out energy that is stagnant, no longer needed or even not belonging to that person, thus creating space to bring in revitalised, balanced energy to kick start the healing process.

Receiving a treatment is only the start of the healing process.  Responsibility for health also lies with the individual – they are integral to their own ability to heal. Changes may be physically to a lifestyle but is could also be a change in perception, beliefs, a way of being.  All this contributes to a healing process in which there may be no time frame.

People going through chronic illness or conditions can be supported in kick starting a healing process – it does not necessarily mean a cure, but can contribute to more robust mental health or reduce the side effects from other treatments.

So cure and heal remain two powerfully interpreted words which will mean different things to different people and in different cultures.  However we can all be part of our own healing towards increased health.